Bookstagram: The Learning Curve

HI! So, if you’ve been hanging around here for a while, you know that I started a bookstagram back late last year. I’ve been having a blast and learning and reading and it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever BUT I see so many mistakes in other bookstagrammers’ profiles that I thought maybe I’d share a little about what I’ve learned so far.

instagram smartphone

Hashtag Horror

I’ve read LOTS of Mom blog articles about hashtags and why to use them and where to use them and how to use them and WOW it’s complicated. Here’s a few things that you need to know.

  1. You have 30 hashtags. Use them all. Or at least use as many as apply to your photo. I can’t tell you how annoyed I get when someone tags a big bookstagrammer or a popular hashtag that has NOTHING TO DO with the photo they just posted. Hey, man. A photo of three books that are all white does not a #rainbowbooks hashtag make. Seriously.
  2. Put those hashtags in the caption, not the first comment. It’s something to do with how the algorithm works, but this is important and while you totally can be successful by putting your hashtags in the comment section, this way gets your content to a wider audience, which is what we all want.
  3. Remember those 30 hashtags? Yeah. Okay, when you put MORE than 30 hashtags in a post, Instagram DELETES your entire caption. It’s rude and unfair and they don’t tell you why but that’s the ticket. Adding more than 30 hashtags gets your caption the axe. So if your caption vanishes, that’s why.
  4. Don’t use the same hashtags each time because Instagram will start thinking that you’re a bot. Switch it up a little.

old books

The Algorithm and Shadowbanning: the Enemies

So maaaaaybe you don’t know what this is yet, you sweet child. If you are familiar with the Algorithm, you know that it’s awful, terrible, rude, mean, and potentially really damaging to your post. Ever had a great post get overlooked? Like maybe half your following went out to lunch and didn’t check the ‘gram for three days after? Yeah. If you see lower numbers on those posts you thought were brilliant? Probably the algorithm standing in your way.

Shadowbanning: it’s possible you haven’t heard of this either. Basically: you have to keep proving to Instagram every day that you’re not a bot. In its mind, you might have been a person yesterday and been zapped by an alien force today and now you’re a bot. (seems logical? sure, why not.) If you don’t comment, interact, use different hashtags that are NOT spammy or broken hashtags, post at varying times of the day, Instagram might think you’re a bot. And if it thinks you’re a bot, you’re going to be shadowbanned.

How to know if you’ve been shadowbanned: Head over to this link and put in your insta handle. It’ll tell you whether your latest photo was shadowbanned or not.

How to get around the algorithm . . .

. . . You can’t.  You can’t really do much about it. The best hints I can give you are:

  1. Comment pods. [CAUTION: Instagram is currently bearing down on these bad boys but as long as more than just the same people comment on your post you are PROBABLY fine. probably. Just use caution, okay?] These are chat groups inside Insta that agree to all comment and/or like the rest of the members’ posts.
  2. Reach out to other instagrammers. Leave them encouraging notes, like their stuff, follow them if you want to. [Seriously, do not follow-unfollow to get more followers, though. That’s rude]
  3. Post great stuff. Even if it means you post less (though more than once or twice a week is good for your following) post quality. Quality over quantity.

Social Media Evolves

So social media is not stagnant. It’s changing and evolving all the time, which means you need to do your research. (Good thing you’re here!) Follow me for more tips and tricks about Instagram, as well as book reviews, genealogy information, and just general awesomeness.

[I work as a social media manager for my family’s company, so I DO know what I’m talking about; follow me on Instagram at @amanda_the_bookish]

Questions, comments? Want to start your own Bookstagram? Drop me a line. I’d be happy to help.

2 thoughts on “

  1. Thanks for this great info! I’ve read varying opinions about putting hashtags in the caption versus in the comments, and I was confused, but I will trust what you’re saying. I guess some folks like to “hide” the hashtags in the first comment so that the post looks prettier. Other than that I don’t see why you’d do that. 😳Some folks also suggested typing out your post in notes and then copying and pasting it into Instagram. Is that what you do? Also, is there an advantage to putting all the dots in? Or is it just for aesthetics? Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Love your posts, by the way! 😊📚❤️

    1. Allison, thanks so much! I actually type out my post on my computer and then email it to myself so I can access it on my phone. Then I copy and paste. The dots are just to separate the body of the text from the hashtags because people don’t really want to read those. Thanks so much for the comment and for hanging around! You rock!

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